----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 1:50
Subject: New home noises - need some
I received a call
from a homes owner who is experiencing popping noises fourteen months after
moving into a new home. The home is part of a tract development by Del Webb.
The homes are one story, wood exterior, metal stud interior walls, slab on
grade with tile roofs. The property has been confirmed to be appropriately
compacted and on certified fill. The soil is sand with no clays
The owners are
former contractors and understand normal settlement sounds of a new home, but
this, they claim, exceeds what was typical for a new home. There is a hollow
soft sound that they thought was coming from ducting or near light switches. I
asked about electrical problems, thinking a short may be arcing to the metal
studs and this may account for the popping noise (but would normally produces
some smell as well). There does not seem to be a problem in this
I keep going back
to the metal stud interior partitions as the possible cause. Assuming
settlement of the roof trusses which would place some load on the interior
non-bearing metal stud partitions, I have a feeling that some of the softer
sounds are the studs stressing and the pops may be some of the screws backing
off or popping against the gauge thickness of the studs.
I am in need of
some confirmation from others who have design conventional homes with metal
stud interior walls. Does this sound like a possible cause and effect? I
believe that the walls act similar to a speaker diaphragm. When the screw
pops, the sound is radiated through the gypsum wall panel like a speaker cone.
I don't know what physical examination I can perform to locate the cause of
the problem other than to confirm that differential settlement is not the
issue. There is no damage - just some loss of sleep by the
Any advice from
those of you with metal stud experience would be greatly
Dennis S. Wish, PE
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax
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